I’m taking a break from finishing my lab report to blog because I seriously feel like I’m going to punch a squirrel right now.  Microsoft Word is being totally uncooperative and just… just… stupid.

Shapes can go die.  Online graphs without Excel can go die.  Oh, and parts of a .pdf pasted in Word that make it run ridiculously slow will die. now.

*deep breath*  Okay, I feel slightly better now.  Urgh, doesn’t technology just piss you off sometimes?  :(

As to why I’m doing this at almost 12 PM on a Sunday night preceding a holiday… You see, it was part of the ultimate plan.  I failed to get it done during the day, so I had to work to meet my “deadline,” and that incidentally meant staying up until this hour.  I have a whole ‘nother list of things I need to get done tomorrow and I really don’t want too much of “today’s” task mixing with “tomorrow’s” (aka the “something will explode if this doesn’t get done” stuff).

Today’s tasks also included photo uploading. For me, this is by far the most time-consuming aspect of blogging.  Copying the photos to the computer, resizing and reformatting as a PNG to preserve quality, deleting the old huge files… * 100.  How many photos do you take in a day, on average? I gravitate towards perfectionism, so I’m always trying to shoot the “perfect” angle for a food… and somehow, I end up with like, thirty different photos of the same thing.  Go figure.

Breakfast yesterday was something I’ve been missing due to the cold weather: a yogurt mess!

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With the best canned pumpkin ever. This has so much more flavor than Libby’s and actually tastes like real pumpkin!

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It’s topped with Trader Joe’s country pumpkin spice granola, which I first set my eyes on on Allie’s blog.  It’s awesome.  :)  I can’t resist picking out the pieces of popcorn!

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Of course, studying wasn’t the only thing I did today!  Lunch out was a blessing, honestly.  My mom had company over and, well, having a valid excuse to be out of the house saved me from being bombarded with those adult-to-child questions: “What school do you go to?” “Have you grown taller?” “How old are you?” “Do you speak Chinese?” etc… it becomes quite tiring after you’ve answered the same question five times to five “curious” adults.  Needless to say, I was more than eager to get out…

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This was so much better than Wegman’s party food.

We went to an amazingly cute restaurant called Magnolias at the Mill today.  It is, as the name implies, a mill-turned-restaurant.  There’s a big plaque about the history of the mill (built in 1905!) just outside the entrance.  It was quite an interesting read—even my insouciant dad was impressed.  :)

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Lots of rustic charm, as you can see.  :)  I believe the upstairs was reserved for dinner, but I wish we could’ve gone up there…

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I ordered the Thai-inspired steamed mussels with lime & sesame scented jasmine rice, snow peas, and green curry coconut sauce. This was my first time ordering mussels—er, well, any kind of mollusk, at a restaurant!  It did not disappoint, even though there were less snow peas than I would have preferred.  The curry-coconut sauce was a bit salty, but it was perfect for sopping up with with the sticky, fragrant jasmine rice.  I ended up giving about four of the mussels to my dad since he liked them so much, and given how rarely he says he likes something, I just had to.  :)  I got a bit of his dish in exchange, the mahi-mahi with lemon-parsley orzo and sautéed watercress. With some blackberry-based sauce, I believe?

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Besides being absolutely gorgeously presented, it was super delish.  I normally dislike mahi-mahi because it tends to be served tough and dry, but this was an exception!  Very succulent and well-seasoned.  :)

I had an “eating race” with my dad.  Okay, the thing is, my dad eats very, very slooooowly. His style of chewing is comparable to a camel’s (minus the spitting) and apparently, mine is more like a rabbit’s or a squirrel’s.  … Okay, that’s fine with me, but not when I’m eating with him!  I literally finish twenty minutes before he does, and it’s not that fun just sitting around, trying to converse (and conversing just draws it out longer…).  So I’ve decided to learn how to chew slowly like a camel so I can pace myself and not end up waiting for him to finish.  I’ll let you know how that goes… xD

My sister ate an entire (kid’s) cheese pizza, but she was still hungry… so she ordered some dessert that she kindly shared with us.  :)  I love how innate children’s senses are, especially with food—they eat when they’re hungry, stop when they aren’t, and they aren’t afraid to treat themselves to delicious, fancy-sounding desserts!

This is the rustic apple-blackberry pie with cinnamon crème anglais, blackberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream~

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Wholesome and delicious.  The crème anglais was amazing, and I loved the huge chunks of apple and berry in the puff pastry, which, by the way, was fluffy and just light enough to balance out the rich ice cream and crème anglais.

I was lazy about dinner, so I just looked around for some fridge leftovers, mixed ‘em up, and voilà. Asian again, Tat. ;)  There’s white rice, broccoli, and mushrooms down there underneath the huge mound of tofu and furikake

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PLUS a very muddy-looking after-dinner treat.  For once, I was craving chocolate?!  This was the last of my plain yogurt with canned pumpkin, Hershey’s dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, Trader Joe’s kettle corn, and maple syrup.

Pre-mix:

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Post-mix and with trail mix and honey-roasted peanuts (both were party food leftovers).  I was a little scared that it would look like poop, but it doesn’t look THAT bad, does it?

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And a divine Medjool date with crunchy PB:

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Oh, I’ve missed crunchy PB.  <3

Last, but not least, I have a gift for Chocolate-Covered Katie and her awesome giveaway.  ;)  Here’s a real, whole banana hammock—no deconstruction involved!

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On the left, we have a slice with a sprinkling of grain-sweetened chocolate chips.  The contender on the right is topped with cinnamon, kettle corn, pumpkin spice granola, and dried guava slices.  ‘Twas de-li-cious.  ;)

Q1: When does technology make you angry?
Q2: Your favorite dessert?  x)

Have a lovely evening… errr, morning, m’ladies!

EDIT: Did anyone notice the “12 PM on a Sunday night”?!  That’s what I get for staying up late… xD

Hi, all.  I’ve missed posting and commenting on your blogs—school, as usual, is the culprit.  :(  Let’s just say this is my fourth day running on three hours of sleep, and I have been a-failin’ on tests and quizzes.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I dropped any entire letter grade in three of my classes just from this week… and not surprisingly, this is only the beginning.  This weekend is going to be hell with the amount of studying and preparation I have to do for next week, lest I die again like I did this week.  Right now, I have an ultimate plan saved on my computer for tomorrow, aka every freaking thing I must accomplish.  My heart probably hates me right now with all the worrying and frantic bouts of “must get this done NOW” that I’ve been experiencing.  Not looking forward to those blood pressure increases, nuh-uh.  -_- 

Aughhh, and I promised myself I would try not to worry about grades too much?!?!  :(  … Pffft, as if.  I’m going to worry about my grades until the day that they leave my life.  Oh, what a happy day that will be!…

Oh, and I’ve been writing this post in chunks at like, 5 AM when I wake up (the only free time I have), so please excuse any sleep deprivation-induced grammar mistakes or just stupid rambling in general… though tonight, a Friday night, I’ve decided to relax for once.  Actually, it’s because I tried to finish some of my homework and it didn’t work.  Like, at all.  I guess sleep deprivation does that to you?  Well, my friends keep telling me that I need to relax, relax, relax, so I’ve decided to be a good girl and take their advice for once.  I’m planning to go to bed early tonight, too, so I can be refreshed and pumped-UP for tomorrow!  Yah!  Jiayou! 

Again, I’m really sorry about the lack of blog-reading-and-commenting.  It’s just too distracting at this point, but once this bout of hell is over, I’ll be back to normal until finals, hopefully!  :)

Anyway, here’s something other than work that I’ve been drowning in lately:

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CHINESE FOOD!  This is soup and mixed white rice with roasted eggplant, lettuce, and pork.  Topped with black sesame seeds, per usual.  :)

I’ve been drinking my weight in soup for the past few days because it has been so. damn. cold. for my standards, at least (and that means below freezing).  I made myself a delicious, umami-rich rice soup with leftovers on Sunday.  (Eeeek, I’m behind…)

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Mmmm.  This was black chicken broth with white rice, mushrooms, roasted eggplant, seaweed, and pork, topped with black sesame seeds and wakame-rice ball furikake in place of salt.  ;)  The seaweed (kombu, I believe) came from this grocery haul over the weekend.  I’m not sure what type of mushrooms these were exactly, but they are freaking juicy and absolutely delicious.  They taste pretty killer with steamed chicken.  :)  Oh, and the more I think about it, the more I wish I cracked an egg into the sizzling hot soup.  It would’ve been so cool to see the egg just cookin’ away in there, mixed with the delicious broth!  :)

Oh, and I finally finished the last of my Vosges Haut Chocolate Goji Bar from way back when, although this picture was taken about a week ago when the majority of it still existed.  It’s long gone now…

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See the little fleck of goji in there?  The addition of the salt was pretty awesome, even though I couldn’t see it.  I think I’m going to start collecting the boxes.  :)

Dinner was at Ruby Tuesday tonight, chosen by my sister.  Alright, so here’s to the good, old-fashioned, American chain restaurant food of my childhood!  Not.

I was surprisingly nervous while I ate my meal of the veggie burger mini + garden salad bar combo.  I found myself questioning my fullness more often than usual, and more unnecessarily than usual.  The thought of calories even entered my mind.  And the longer I sat there, consumed by these thoughts, I began to question why exactly I was being this way.  Why was I suddenly, once again, worried about such frivolous things?  Why couldn’t I enjoy my meal here as I did in other restaurants (not to say the meal was particularly amazing, hence the lack of photography)? 

Psychologically, I associate restaurants like Ruby Tuesday and T.G.I. Friday’s with fat fat fat.  I used to gorge myself on cheese fries, deep fried macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, fish, etc. in these restaurants.  After I acquired DE thoughts, I feared these restaurants the most, because I believed that the greasy, disgusting foods there were the root of my woes and “fatness.”  I avoided these places like the plague.  And once I returned for the first time in a long while, that fear crept back.  I was nervous about stuffing myself until I couldn’t move anymore again.  I was afraid that I would gain ten pounds overnight and become “fat” again. 

In reality, when I look back on it, I was a chubby kid, but I definitely wasn’t overweight or obese.  The chub factor was probably due mostly to baby fat, anyway!  Of course, the way I used to eat (overstuffing myself on fried, nutrient-less foods) wasn’t healthy in the least, but I don’t do that anymore.  I have learned how to listen to my body, maybe eat a little more if the food’s really that good, or eat a little less if I feel sick.  Overstuffing myself on a regular basis just will not happen.  That’s what I need to remember.

Q: Your thoughts/experiences on this or a similar situation?  What is something you have a negative psychological association with?

Phew, another few paragraphs of rambling.  :|  I really missed the venting aspect of blogging, I guess?  My eyelids are starting to droop, so I think I’ll call it a night.

Good night all!  I may or may not return with pictures of a grocery haul tomorrow… either way, I love you guys :) 

Good evening, loves!  :)  I hope you had a Sunday that was the complete opposite of mine.  By that, I mean totally relaxing.  ^_^  Oh, and I’m only half-kidding here…

I went grocery shopping (happiness-inducing!) at my favorite Korean grocery store last night after dinner.  I was honestly planning on only buying one or two items, but I ended up buying three bagfuls.  Yes, I am a compulsive buyer… but that doesn’t automatically make me a stupid one, hm?  ;)  Cheapness 4eva!

Goodies galore!  :)  Such as…

fresh persimmons

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orange blossom honey

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pickled plums, though it says apricots in the ingredients list?…

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PANEER!!!  Gosh, I just love this stuff.  :]

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And parts of an old Whole Foods haul…

Awesome-smelling cheese <3

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and dried turkish apricots (to replace my beloved calimyrna figs)

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Breakfast was around 7 AM.  I even had to turn on the light to take the photo… on a weekend?!  O_O

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Peanut Butter Puffins with cherry vanilla granola, dried banana slices, black sesame seeds, and coarse sea salt.  Made delicious with unsweetened almond milk.  :)

My mom just keeps buying PB Puffins.  Okay, I love them and all, but honestly, I’d like to branch out into other cereals…

Lunch was another adventure in my quest to taste different ethnic foods.  Today, we went to a Persian restaurant called Shamshiry.  No pictures of the decor, since the waiters were already staring at us, and I was already pretty uncomfortable, but it is a really tiny place that looks ten times bigger because of a single, completely-mirrored wall.  It was a little strange watching myself eat from my peripheral vision, but who cares about how messy/weird I look when I chew when there’s food to photograph?!

My dad ordered the house salad to start.  Nothing special—just some iceberg lettuce, tomato, olives (blech), red beans (kidney?), and goat cheese, which I stole with some of the greens.  It came with a runny, sour lemon-yogurt dressing.

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I was pretty intimidated when I saw the portion for my dish, the shirin polo, which was “sweet rice” with spices, sugared orange peel, pistachios, and almonds.

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It’s impossible to tell from the photos, but trust me—this was enough to feed a family of four, at least. The sad thing is, the description on the menu made it sound so amazing, but it really wasn’t that good.  The rice was nice and fluffy, but it just wasn’t very well seasoned at all (I expected a TON more spices), and the flavors just didn’t mix well.  Instead of a heavenly combination of flavors, I tasted each one individually, one after another, as I ate it.  The candied orange peels were also much less fragrant and citrus-y than I expected.  :(  At least it looked good…

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Oh, but the crusty rice cracker-like thing (tah digue) was pretty awesome.  :)  So darn crunchy!  I should cook rice in a pot just for this.  ;)  I was eating it in quite a barbaric way (with my hands), and my dad scolded me for it.  Then, he proceeded to do the same and munch and crunch on it just like a cracker.  Mmhmm, I’m just that brilliant!  Also, I can’t believe they actually sell this stuff.  I saw it at the Korean grocery as “scorched rice,” lol.

Perhaps the size of these meals is better reflected in this picture?  Possibly?…

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My dad ordered the mahi kabob (salmon), which came with baghali polo, dill rice with fava beans.  There was salmon there before, I promise.  ;)

I also ordered the a pot of “Persian tea,” which was basically nice, piping-hot, bitter black tea in a jug that came with a cute teacup and tiny straw.  Oh, and sugar cubes.  :)  I never knew such a small amount of tea could be drunk so slowly until today…

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Dinner was a bit of a different story.  We went to a local chain restaurant called Clyde’s, and my dad immediately proclaimed that he was craving junk food.

The phrase “junk food” means different things to different people.  To my friends, it would probably be McDonald’s, Burger King, deep-fried foods—the obviously not-too-healthy foods.  But for a DE-ravaged mind like mine?  I’ve gotten my definitions confused and/or mixed up.

Junk food, to me, once meant carbs.  It once meant dessert and sugar; even my beloved nut butters were stuck under that label!  It meant eggs and creamy sauces and butter and red meat—basically anything that wasn’t a vegetable or fruit.  Actually, if DE deemed a fruit too high in sugar/calories (WTF), it was also considered “junk food.”  Maybe I didn’t call it junk food in my mind, but from the way I was treating those foods, they might as well be as nutritious as a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

I asked my dad what he meant by “junk food.”

Burgers.  Fast food.  Soda.  Deep fried foods… like french fries. I really need french fries today.”

His reply was so simple and damn obvious, and yet somehow, it cleared my mind of the DE fog and pulled me closer to normalcy.  I asked myself, Is this bread “junk food” because it’s white and has “no” nutritional value?

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No.  Nonetheless, I didn’t eat it.  It was cold and tough.  :(

Am I only allowed to drink water and calorie-free drinks?

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No, but I needed a hot drink that night, and peppermint tea sounded good.  *shivers*  Plus, unless they are at room temperature and flat, sodas/sparkling fizzy drinks make my stomach hurt like hell.  They don’t really taste that good in that state either…

Should I order the winter vegetable platter or the jumbo lump crab cake dish?  Did I eat too much meat during the day?  What if the sweet potato gratin it comes with is too cheesy and delicious and I finish the whole thing?  What if there are too many carbs in the veggie platter?

What if what if what if I just ordered what I wanted?

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Don’t get me wrong, the winter vegetable platter sounded delicious (and I could taste acorn squash that was maybe done the right way), but everything about the jumbo lump crab cake dish just sounded perfect.  And it was.  :)

1. Jumbo lump crab cake. Biiig clumps of delicious crabmeat, little to no breading, definitely no mayo, and perfectly seasoned.  Oh, and no food poisoning is a plus!

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2. Chipotle sweet potato gratin. This was coated with a cheesy sauce rather than being smothered in real cheese, but it was certainly better than my first time having “sweet potato” gratin.  100% sweet potatoes, yay!  They were really sweet.  :)

3. Brussels sprouts + blood orange vinaigrette. This was my first time trying brussels sprouts, and they were yummy. I don’t understand why it has the reputation it does?!  I think these were steamed or boiled, and boiled is apparently the yuckiest way of preparing them, but they were good!  The blood orange vinaigrette was a little less citrus-y than I would have liked, but it wasn’t overly sweet, which was nice.  (Still need to buy blood oranges!)

All this while my dad chowed down a giant bacon cheeseburger with fries and a coke.  Is there anyone who thinks that “bacon cheeseburger” means a burger made out of bacon with cheese?

… Didn’t think so.  -_-

The moral of the story is: Not every food is “junk food,” and no junk food is off limits. I will say it: Life is a balancing act.  What if what if what if I just did that?

2010 Goal #3: BALANCE.  BALANCE.  BALANCE. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but so much easier said than done…

Q1: What’s your favorite type of cereal?
Q2: What do you consider “junk food”?
Q3: Do you like brussels sprouts?

Off to… finish my homework!  :D

… with my aunt’s family.  :(  At least it was a memorable one—for them, at least!

We went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for dinner yesterday, one of those places where they cook the food right in front of you with fancy tapping and flipping.  Oh, and huge fires.  I was almost afraid to whip my camera out in fear that it would get burned or something!  But when I saw my cousin begin to record the procedure with his digital, I couldn’t resist…


I split a hibachi scallop dish with my sister.  It came with soup, salad, stir-fried vegetables, and steamed/fried rice.  We agreed on steamed, but it was still fun to watch the cook flip the fried rice around.  :]

I was expecting miso soup, but this turned out to be ramen noodle soup (as in, the stuff that comes in the instant noodle bowls) flecked with mushroom slices.  This was the first time in a looong time that I’ve had instant noodle soup, so it was a pleasant-ish surprise.  ;)

The salad had a peanut dressing that wasn’t very Japanese, but was pretty darn tasty.  Otherwise, it was quite uneventful—my share consisted entirely of iceberg lettuce swimming in watery peanut sauce at the b0ttom of the bowl.  Oh, the sacrifices an older sibling must make…


I ordered a hot tea, which turned out to be genmaicha, my favorite type of green tea.  The toasted brown rice adds such wonderful depth of flavor to the plain green tea.


Cooking the veggies + scallops—look at the onion volcano!


My veggie portion was pretty lame after I split it with my sister… and perhaps munched on a few pieces before the camera.  ^_^;


This isn’t the most appetizing picture, but it’s the only one I took of the scallops.  :/  I actually ended up getting a piece of shrimp as well :D  Lucky lucky~ x)  These were, again, amazing scallops—really juicy and tender, and of course, extremely aromatic.  *drool*  Maybe I really don’t hate scallops after all!  <3


I loved that the steamed rice was actually a wee bit sticky instead of the hardened, loose stuff they serve at Chinese-American places.  It smelled really good, too—I adore the smell of fresh rice.  :)  (Yes, I’m a weirdo who sniffs rice.)  Also on my plate are random fried noodles that I honestly have no idea where they come from/who ordered them…  Lucky again?  They were pretty greasy and not too different from your average fried noodles.

Perhaps the weirdest part of dinner was watching the cook carve off pieces of shortening from a giant ball of the stuff.  I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of it—at first I seriously had no idea what it was.  My cousin had suggested they were mashed potatoes.  o__o

For some reason, I honestly was not very hungry tonight.  I just could not finish my rice and mustered only about half of the noodles before I felt bloated.  Now, seeing as that I only had half an entrée in the first place, I did not eat very much.  My family began to voice their concerns, and I tried to tell them that I was honestly full, but the more I talked, the more it sounded like I was lying.  Begin freak-out on the inside.  What do I do?  How do I tell them that I’m truly full?  How do I make them believe me? etc.

Pft.  And to think that my disordered voice thought that they thought I was a fatty for finishing my food the other night—what a load of BS.  My sole question today is: What would you do in this situation?

I’m sorry for the sporadic blogging—I’m still trying to get the hang of it!  :/  Ah, well, it’ll come to me eventually.  It’s been fun so far, and commenting has been especially rewarding.  I’m so glad I don’t just lurk around anymore!  :)

The weather this week has improved vastly.  It was actually pretty sunny today—not as warm as I would’ve liked, but after all, it’s autumn.  Can’t expect 70* weather in this part of the globe, unfortunately.  I’m waking up at 5:30 AM to pitch black darkness that makes me want to sink back underneath my body-crushing comforter (it’s warm, yeah?).  I don’t *want* to get up for school, dammit. Curse the encroaching winter and its cold!  I’m never excited to wake up in the mornings anymore, and it’s not just because I got 4 hours of sleep and have to shove my eyelids open, oh no… It’s because my toe freezes the moment I let it jut out from under the covers to test the air.  Noooo don’t make me get uppp!…

Then I remember that if I don’t get up that instant, I will more than likely fall back asleep, wake up late, freak out, and go on a rampage beating up everything in sight, including myself.  That kind of stuff (i.e. nervous breakdown) is pretty unhealthy for my brain, and brain health is essential for a deathly good, edifying day of academic study.

Again, I will reiterate: brains need food, and the food my stomach wants is making a noticeable shift with the season.  In the summer, I subsisted mostly on yogurt, cereal, and fresh fruit for breakfast to counter the heat, but at 5:30 AM, in the freezing cold and pitch black darkness, just thinking about those foods can make me lose my appetite.  I would never risk a stomachache at that hour!  Thus, the age of oatmeal/toast/eggs/other warm delicious food for breakfast begins.  The same goes for lunch and dinner—I don’t feel like eating salad anymore, but instead crave a good soup or roasted veggies… and my ultimate comfort food: white rice.

Once a rice person, always a rice person?

Occupying the corner of this plate is a mound of white rice dressed with soy sauce, black sesame seeds, and furikake.  Basically, it’s a spin on the poor man’s meal (white rice + soy sauce) with my usual toppings… I used to down bowls of white rice + soy sauce like there was no tomorrow, every day, when I was really young.  White rice was always accompanied by soy sauce, or else I wouldn’t eat it.  I don’t eat it every day anymore, so it has become my ultimate comfort food.  Eating it induces so much nostalgia and makes me feel very at-home and fuzzy inside.  Of course, rice is not just for the colder seasons, but I find that it’s during this time of year that most of us crave our down-home comfort foods.  We need that warm, fuzzy feeling to counter the unrelenting cold and the inevitable winter blues…

Rice is warm too. :)

Ah, and fried rice, too!  My mom’s specialty is fried rice with Chinese sausage and eggs—super simple home cooking, but so good.  The version above has ham, furikake, and black sesame seeds, as expected, but it was delicious nonetheless. Why is it so much fun to bring a bowl of rice up to my lips and start shoving it into my mouth with chopsticks???  (Try it!)

What is/are your ultimate comfort food(s)? I know that stuffing my face with rice makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside… <3  Boiled pear juice is another one.  I’ll consider rambling about that some other time.  ;)  ‘Night, loves~